'Friday Night Lights' Season 5, Episode 9 Recap
by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 13th 2011 9:20AM
['Friday Night Lights' - 'Gut Check']
As Season 5 heads to a close, some hard truths are coming out on 'Friday Night Lights.' No truth was more evident than the one that has slapped Eric and Tami in the face more often than not.
In their careers, they work with teenagers. As Eric said tonight, "They are exhausting." Have the Taylors reached teenage overload? You have to wonder.
Lurking beneath the surface for the couple was an offer from Shane State University in Florida, which would be a major reward for Eric.
What coach wouldn't want to move up to the next level, especially considering the perks? And after the Vince and Epic battles of the night, Eric and Tami had to have doubts about how much they have left to give in Dillon, Texas. Has Eric reached the point of no return? Is he ready to work with adults?
Tami's confidence in Epic has always been problematic. I've suspected that Tami would wind up with a broken heart. She nearly ended up with a broken head, too. Even after accepting her help and hospitality, Epic continued acting out at school.
Epic was accused of stealing $20 from Laurel and in the ensuing melée, Tami was the injured party. This is likely the end of the Epic story. She's off to Kilroy and then a new foster home. For Tami, Epic was an epic failure of faith.
For Eric, the game and the practices are usually a sanctuary, but with Vince and Luke at each other's throats after a bitter loss, the Lions are falling apart. The end of the undefeated season was a big blow to the Lions chances for a state championship, and Coach Taylor had to accept the fact that Vince has lost the team with his egomaniacal antics.
Ornette's attitude continued to feed Vince's sense of entitlement. The father characterized the coach not as a supporter, but as an obstacle in Vince's path to college and the big time.
When Coach asked Vince to help tutor Luke on the playbook to get the wildcat package ready, Vince objected. He was unable to see that his first responsibility is to the team, not showcasing his talent. Jess tried to set Vince straight, but that resulted in the inevitable. Jess dumped him and his self-centered attitude.
And just to show that she's a team player, when Vince blew off the tutoring, Jess prepped Luke. It was no surprise that Coach Taylor benched Vince, even though it nearly cost the team a game that qualified them for the playoffs.
With Becky's support for Luke -- and you have to admire how she's approaching their renewed relationship -- and trusting his instincts, Luke managed to salvage a victory. But it also proved to him that he doesn't have the goods to move on. He's just not a Vince, and he this game proved it.
Ornette's reaction to the Lions winning without Vince bordered on malevolence. If Vince hadn't stopped him, would Ornette have attacked Coach Taylor? Is that what will happen in the future, like Epic hurting Tami?
On the subject of Becky, while it's nice that she's anxious for an old-fashioned romance with Luke, her foray at the Landing Strip is taking her in the wrong direction. It's easy money and she likes that part of it. But her acceptance of that kind of lifestyle, epitomized by her reaction to Mindy's pregnancy (Billy's too) reveals how meager her goals are. The last thing the Riggins need is another baby.
Finally, there's Julie's visit to Chicago to see Matt. Actually, it was more that she was using Matt to avoid getting back to life. Matt proved that like the Taylors, he's a grown up while Julie is still just a teenager.
Julie needs to find that core of Eric and Tami inside of her and face her mistakes. Matt loves Julie, but he knows that she has to get back on her path. If that eventually leads her back to him, so be it. But the best thing Matt could do for Julie is what he did; he nudged her back in the right direction.
'Friday Night Lights' airs Wednesday nights, 9PM ET on DirecTV.